Originally posted on Polka Dot Bride on February 27, 2009
If you’ve been reading Polka Dot Bride for awhile you may remember this gorgeous Polka Dot Bride otherwise known as Princess Lasertron. As well as having had a beautiful wedding, Megan of Princess Lasertron also makes the sweetest wedding bouquets and accessories- using buttons! Megan joins Polka Dot Bride today to share the world of button bouquets!
Tell us about yourself. Were you always a creative person? As a little girl were you always making things?
I have only ever wanted to be an artist. Sewing and crafting throughout my entire life, I explored many phases. My preferred medium and method changed often. Paper and tape, scissors and fabric, colorful modeling clay, yarn and knitting needles, rubber stamps, wool and thread, paint and any surface I had permission to alter consumed every moment of playtime, and every night I fell asleep counting the new projects I wanted to try (leaving the sheep tucked away only for emergencies).
I grew up in a neighborhood full of children, and my playmates would often come over after school to eat snacks, put on plays, and think of new ways to make money (another strong trait that emerged for me). All of the other kids would bring their dolls and stuffed animals and play, creating scenarios and walking them around in an imaginary playhouse. I liked this game but I never played WITH the dolls—I made clothes for them, I built furniture for them, I designed houses for them, I made books for them to read, other dolls destined to be their friends.
My mother is an extremely creative person who opened me up to dozens of techniques and always encouraged me to try new things with different materials. She led by example teaching me to see art everywhere and find inspiration every day. I’d often wake up to find a box of yarn from the thrift store, two rolls of colorful tape and a pad of new paper, or a shopping bag of fabric on the table waiting for me, designed to keep me busy so my mom could sleep in–it rarely worked because I always had a little diorama or papier mache piggy bank or doll blanket that I was standing by her bed with at 7am. As I am producing more personal creations, the influence of my mom is unmistakable.
Other than that, I’m 22. I play Dungeons and Dragons every other Saturday. Besides creating and crafting I also enjoy schooling, traveling, going to dance clubs, and drawing. Is there any more to say? Not really.
The quality of your bouquets is beautiful. Where did you learn your craft?
This design really evolved from the button flower bouquets I began making in early 2005. (Here is the first bouquet I actually made to decorate my bathroom!) I began making them just for myself and as gifts for my family and friends, and as more and more people were requesting them, I decided to start a small business selling that design. In the beginning I also did a lot of custom embroidery, brooches and barrettes out felt and buttons, and paper art, but nothing flew off the shelves quite like the button crafts.
In 2007 something happened that changed my life more than I would realize—I asked my boyfriend to marry me. As we began planning our wedding, I explored lots of wonderful flower options but ultimately (and typically) decided to make my bouquet myself. Basing the design off of the hundreds of felt flower brooches and hairpieces I had sold, I re-engineered the felt flowers to arrange them in a bouquet.
Megan and her husband on their wedding day.
The result of the Bouquet Experiment was really lovely and personal, and our wedding was the perfect party—we did things our way, we represented ourselves, and I think our guests had the time of their lives. A few weeks later when we got our pictures back from photographer Becky Novacek and posted them on my blog, I began to see them reappearing on bridal websites everywhere (including Polka Dot Bride!). Dozens and dozens of readers were asking about the bouquet—where did she buy it? Where can I get one? And all of that led to the explosion of my business that supports my family and has brought joy to hundreds of brides to this day!
So I always say that getting married was the best thing that ever happened to me—of course I committed myself to my best friend, but it also set me on the path that would make my artistic dreams come true.
Where did the initial idea come from, to start making your ‘button’ bouquets?
I had initially been exploring scrapbooking as my current leisure craft, and I found that I was using a lot of vintage buttons on my pages. I had so many of these rare vintage candy-colored buttons. I was in my first apartment and it was very bare, and I began to visualize the buttons as blooms on wire that went in a vase. I follow my instincts with color and the results have been beautiful. I have seen this idea around on the Internet—it’s definitely a case of great minds thinking alike! I now use only vintage buttons collected from all over the world—I think it is what adds the unique character to my projects.
What made you decide to pursue this creative idea, rather than pursue a more ‘conventional’ career?
Well, like I mentioned before, art was always meant to have a primary place in my life. I wouldn’t say that I ever decided to become an artist—I just followed my interests and kept myself open to opportunities. However, I should say that I can see how many life choices I made in the last several years led to me being able to pursue art as a career. I went to a small college that offered me a good scholarship and I worked hard in many different jobs throughout college saving my money. Graduating without student loan debt and saving my money put me in a position where I had financial capital and was able to take a risk in starting a small business. My then-boyfriend-now-husband also offered me his endless emotional support and I don’t think I would be here now without his encouragement. I am also lucky to live in an area with a strong network of designers, artists, and people who support them.
This experience just shows me how important it is to be responsible and continually aware of how your life decisions can affect you down the road. Sometimes the stars just align, but usually success is the result of careful choices. I did decide to pursue a career as an artist and designer, but a lot lies ahead of me in life. I’m currently in grad school for Political Communication & Cross-Cultural Communication, so maybe a “conventional” career is still in my cards. You don’t have to sacrifice everything to be an artist…I can be a designer and a yuppie simultaneously. One never knows and I love to be ready for any opportunity.
Your product is so different. What inspires you?
What is inspiring what I am working on now?
…A black and hot pink-striped hair bow that I bought from a DIY designer in a Berlin Gothic dance club
…A photograph by Steven Meisel from a Vogue Italia spread called “Non-Stop Ultimate Pumping.” Beautiful people in neon workout gear…what is more inspiring than that?
…A pink paper vintage fan
…Nail polish in bright primary colors
I think mostly though that the work in itself inspires me. The bride is the muse.
What is the design process?
When I begin to work on a bridal order, I first “mise en place,” a phrase I learned from Martha Stewart (who inspires everyone). I clean my work surface and gather everything I will use for the bouquet. Wool felt, brightly dyed embroidery thread, sharp fabric scissors and 3-4 pairs of decorative fabric scissors. I also assemble a tray of carefully chosen buttons and other extras like vintage seam binding, glass seed beads, and rhinestone baubles.
After each flower is cut out, I assemble each one with leaves, button centers, and other foof and work on them one-by-one. The finished bouquet is secured with silk ribbon and pearl-headed pins.
I only make one bouquet at a time. Often, brides choose to send me heirloom buttons from their family collections, or antique mementos like their grandmother’s handkerchief for the bouquet stem, or a special brooch to feature in the bouquet. I love working with personal items like that.
Can people commission particular pieces from you?
Of course! Almost all of my business comes from custom orders. The best way for people to get information about custom orders is to e-mail me at email@example.com.
How do you keep on learning?
Everywhere I go, I am working. I am in the bookstore reading about embroidery or textile art or or wedding trends or business taxes. I am at the hair salon making friends with people who can recommend my services to their customers. Even when I am traveling or on vacation, I am looking for new fabrics and materials in flea markets. I communicate a lot with other artists both in my local area and globally, and they are all wonderful resources. I learn by taking risks. And I learn by making mistakes—not every idea turns out well. There is nothing worse than getting comfortable and thinking you are too good to keep developing your process.
What do you love about creating individual pieces for brides?
I love the feeling I get when I provide a bride with an item or service that helps realize her vision and create the perfect day with her perfect person. I also love the collaboration process and the inspiration that comes from hearing someone else’s vision and dream. Brides also appreciate details and custom style—you are the people who affirm all the work that goes into what I do!
Having been recently married, what is your number one tip for brides?
Pick vendors you can trust (and then trust them). And plan the wedding that you would want to attend.
What are your favourite wedding ideas?
Lately I am really into alternative flower girl ideas. Handcrafted things they can carry besides little baskets of petals. Wands? A little purse? An umbrella, a banner, a garland? I also like tablescaping with items like colorful mismatched dishes and vintage tablecloths.
What are the biggest mistakes you see brides making?
I see so many brides get caught up in the little details, who believe that the wrong Pantone color shade of the ribbon on the ring pillow will ruin the whole wedding. Have someone who can help you take a step back and remember the real reason for the celebration—your marriage. When I was planning my own wedding, I kept asking myself “Will anyone care except me?” It’s a good question.
5 things a bride must get right?
1. The only thing a bride has to get right is the person she is marrying. Everything else is icing on the cake.
2. The photos. Choose a very good photographer and you won’t be sorry. That doesn’t necessarily mean expensive—just pick someone you trust who has a great portfolio in a style you love. Also have the photographer edit the pictures—lots of great shots are done in post-production.
3. Accommodations for your guests. They love to know you are thinking of them and trying to make their trip easier.
4. The food. Think about other options besides the default plated meal or buffet—can you do appetizers? A rustic style? A dessert bar? Feature a favorite dish from your culture? A fun theme like a “favorite foods” buffet? Also, always have a vegetarian option.
5. The atmosphere. It should represent you and your beloved and be comfortable for everyone.
Thank you for taking the time to share with us the thoughts behind your beautiful bouquets Megan! You can find Megan at her blog Princess Lasertron– full of beautiful details!